Thursday, November 29, 2012

Minnehaha Falls Bridges

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota still is a popular attraction. Judging from the large number of postcards picturing it that were produced in the early years of the twentieth century, it must have been even more popular then. The cards that I find most interesting are the ones showing the rustic bridge, especially the ones with people on the bridge. The postcard above has a black and white printed view circa 1908.

A version of the Minneahaha Falls bridge was even used as a photo studio prop. The next postcard is a real photo from Kregel Photo Parlors of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

There are five locations or The Kregel Photo Parlors listed on the back of this postcard.

The next two postcards show the falls in different seasons. These are my favorite colored views of the rustic bridge and the falls. This is the bridge built about 1893. An earlier bridge was photographed as early as the 1860s.

The next postcard shows the bridge that was built in 1910. This bridge was built of reinforced concrete and faced with boulders found in the park and vicinity.

My final postcard is circa 1950s. This postcard shows the bridge built in 1940 as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in the park. This bridge was made of concrete and faced with cut stone.

Information source: Bridges at Minnehaha Falls

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

United States Bicentennial & Stamps

The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances during the mid-1970s that commemorated the historical events leading up to the creation of the United States as an independent republic. The Bicentennial culminated on Sunday, July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

The maximum card above has an image of a bust of John Paul Jones and the U.S. Bicentennial stamp honoring him. This is one of MANY U.S. Bicentennial stamps, which were issued over a period of years from 1971 to 1983. I couldn't find a list of all the issues. Wikipedia's Bicentennial Series article even seems to neglect the John Paul Jones stamp which was issued on September 23, 1979, saying that there were no Bicentennial stamps between 1978 and 1981.

John Paul Jones (1747-1792) was an American Revolutionary hero who served in the Continental Navy. Born in Scotland, Jones later adopted the United States as his own country. He commanded the Bonhomme Richard and fought against the British during the Revolutionary War. It was during a battle against the British ship Serapis that he made the iconic statement, "I have not yet begun to fight!" Jones died in Paris in 1792. His remains were later returned to the United States and interned in Annapolis, Maryland. (Source: Arago)

The back of the John Paul Jones card has two cancellations related to him and two Bicentennial stamps. The American Militia and Continental Army stamps were issued on July 4, 1975. They are part of block of four designs that show uniforms worn by the Continental Army, Navy, Marines, and American militia during the Revolutionary War. These stamps have the Bicentennial logo.

The U.S. Bicentennial was a big event. I found a Bicentennial cartoon on YouTube that was produced by a U.S. government agency. It is packed full of iconic American symbols presented in a wild and crazy way with 1970s era graphics!

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Fun

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is a photo of two young girls. Since it is Thanksgiving this week, I chose a Thanksgiving postcard with two young girls for my Sepia Saturday post this week.

I have a lot of old Thanksgiving postcards with children. I started collecting them because I was born on Thanksgiving. This year happens to be one of the years when my birthday actually falls on Thanksgiving.

Last year I made a video called Thanksgiving Fun on Vintage Postcards with postcards from my collection and posted it on YouTube. I also wrote an article about Children on Thanksgiving Postcards for my website. To see even more Thanksgiving postcards and some other Thnksgiving thingies, click the Thanksgiving label below this post.

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Little Thanksgiving Card & Perfin Stamp

This Thanksgiving postcard is signed by the artist Ellen Clapsaddle and published by International Art. It is numbered 1311.

I hope this little card will convey
All that I wish for your Thanksgiving Day:
But somehow or other it seems so small
To think that it could carry them all.

The back of this card is unusual because it was written upside with the address and message in the wrong columns.

The stamp on the back of this card is a perfin. In philately, a perfin is a stamp that has had initials or a name perforated across it to discourage theft. The name is a contraction of perforated initials or perforated insignia. The top twoo letters on this stamp appear to be NW which could be an abbreviation for Northwest or Northwestern. The bottom letter appears to be a G.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Symbols

This Thanksgiving postcard design includes a little bit of everything. There are the common Thanksgiving symbols of turkeys and plentiful fruit. There are the patriotic symbols of flags and the American Eagle. There are chrysanthemums for Fall and forget-me-nots for remembrance and good luck.

I especially like that baby turkeys (known as poults) are included with Mom and Pop turkey.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dead Fish & A Postal Shower

I have a lot of Thanksgiving postcards, but I had a hard time choosing one to post on my blog. I wanted to find one with an interesting and readable message as well as a nice image. Most of my postcards are unused. The ones that were used usually say little beyond "Thanks for your postal. I'm sorry I haven't written" or "We are all well, hope you are the same."

Here is the message on the back of this postcard which is postmarked Nov 24, 1909:

Don't send for me(?) any fish moss(?). My fish are all dead but one. I would like to see you this morning when you get so many postals. I have told several about you postal shower. Nora.

It was the dead fish that first caught my attention. I had trouble figuring out the last part of the message until I remembered hearing about postal showers. Postal showers were popular in the early twentieth century when postcards were a big fad. They were a way of giving or sending postcards from many people to the same person at the same time. Postal showers seem to have been especially popular for birthdays, but also could occur at other times. Here is a newspaper report of a postal shower that was published in The Kingston Daily Freeman, August 10 1908.

The Lowell, Indiana Library website reported a shower of postal cards sent through the mail in 1910. This item came from Reports of the Historical Secretary of the Old Settler and Historical Association of Lake County, Indiana, from 1906 to1910:
On February 16th, which was the 80th anniversary of the birthday of Mrs. A.D. Palmer, of Lowell, formerly of Creston, she received a "shower" of postal cards. Greeting came to her, it is stated, from three hundred and six relatives and friends living in twenty states, and forty-five towns, including a great-great-grandson, whose card was sent by his parents residing in Hammond. The "postal shower" was a marked success.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rivals - Eagle vs. Turkey

The American Bald Eagle was chosen to be part of the United States national seal in 1782. Not all were in agreement with this choice. Ben Franklin believed that the turkey would have made a better national symbol. According to Franklin, the eagle is a bird of  bad moral character. He felt that the turkey is a more respectable and courageous bird and would have been a more appropriate symbol.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Devils Tower National Monument Stamp

Devils Tower National Monument,  which is located in northeastern Wyoming, was established on September 24, 1906 as the first U. S. national monument. This stamp, which was issued on September 24, 1956 commemorates the monument's 50th anniversary. Devils Tower rises dramatically 1,267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain, and the summit is 5,112 feet (1,558 m) above sea level. It has a thousand-foot wide base and tapers to 275 feet at its flat summit.

According to Wikipedia, geologists agree that Devils Tower was formed by the intrusion of igneous material, but they cannot agree on how that process took place. As the molten rock cooled, mainly hexagonal columns were formed, and cracks occurred between them. Devils Tower did not visibly protrude above the surface until the softer sedimentary rocks overlying it eroded away. The more resistant igneous rock making up the tower survived the erosional forces, and the columns of Devils Tower began to appear as an isolated mass above the surrounding terrain.

Devils Tower is considered a sacred landmark by many Native American tribes, and Native American folklore includes several stories about its formation. In one story, giant bears spotted some girls who were playing and began to chase them. The girls climbed on a rock in an effort to escape the bear and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. The Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so that the bears could not reach the girls. When the bears tried to climb the rock, their claws left deep marks in the sides.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Are They Reading?

I bought the postcard shown above because I wanted to see what they were reading. I thought it might be something romantic or popular. It turned out to be a copy of STUDIO LIGHT magazine with an ad for Artura photographic paper on the back cover. By looking at other information on the web, I determined that the words below STUDIO LIGHT on the cover say "Incorporating The Aristo Eagle and The Artura Bulletin."  Artura was bought by Eastman Kodak in 1909. Similar Artura ads were used on the back cover in 1916 and possibly earlier.

The front of the postcard is stamped C. L. Merryman, Kerkhoven Minn. on the bottom border.

C. L. Merryman was Charles Lincoln Merryman (1865-1956) who had a studio in Kerkhoven plus a couple of  branches. He owned the Kerkhoven studio from 1893 until 1940. The studio was razed shortly after he sold it. The following information is from Placeography:
Charles Lincoln Merryman is originally from Bangor, Maine. He was born in 1865, and he evidently took to photography at an early age: He was running his own photo shop in Bangor when he was still a teenager. In 1884 Merryman went to Boston where he spent the next eight years working for the Blair Camera Company. In 1892 he moved to Kerkhoven, and for several months he operated a photo studio there out of a tent. In 1893 Merryman purchased the building pictured here on 11th street, and he remodeled it to accommodate a photo studio by extending the building and adding skylights to it. Merryman ran this photography business for nearly fifty years, and he eventually had two satellite studios in Sunberg and Spicer Minnesota.
I found some very interesting photos of Merryman's studio on the Minnesota Historical Society website. The first is a postcard advertising the studio.

A photo of the Merryman studio interior below shows the same background (on the right) that was used for my postcard.

Another photo of the studio interior, that I found especially interesting, is one of the Post Card Station promoting photo postcards.

The Minnesota Historical Society also has another Merryman photo of a Man Reading. Though the image isn't very clear, it looks like the man could also be reading Studio Light.

I discovered another "reading" photo by Merryman that was used on the cover of the book In Their Own Words: Letters from Norwegian Immigrants. The woman who is reading may be sitting in the same fancy chair shown in the photo of Merryman's studio interior. (The image of the book cover is from Amazon, and the original image is credited to the Minnesota Historical Society)

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Service Men's Telephone Centers

This postcard was furnished for the use of service men at a telephone center at Camp Grant in Illinois. It has the following description on the front of the card:
This Telephone Center is like one I visited today. Because copper for new wire has gone to war, existing lines are crowded with war calls. So telephone operators and a manager are here at Camp Grant to help get our calls through. That's why it's easier for me to call you than for you to call me.
The soldier who sent this postcard was named Paul C. Muehl. His Army enlistment information can be found here. The postcard was mailed "Free" with a sweet message of love on the back:
Dearest Nancy:
Just finished talking to you and your voice was so sweet to hear again. Honey, please love me back as much as I love you, will ya?
Love, Paul


This postcard was mailed on August 11, 1945. By that time, WWII was just about over. The end of war in Asia occurred on August 14 and 15, 1945, when armed forces of Japan surrendered to the forces of the Allied Powers. That surrender came just over three months after the end of war in Europe.

When I searched the internet for other WWII telephone centers, I was surprised to find a "twin" for my army postcard. I am showing the two cards together below. Everything is the same on the two cards except for the uniforms that the men are wearing and the name of the base. Great Lakes is a Naval station, also in Illinois.

Below I have a 1943 photo from the Library of Congress of the telephone room at the United Nations service center, Washington, D.C. It looks like all the women in this photo and on the postcards have the same hairstyle.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Illinois Central - Panama Limited - Chicago Skyline

The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. It was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad except for its last three years (1971-74), when it was operated by Amtrak. It began service on February 4, 1911 and was named in honor of the anticipated opening of the Panama Canal.

This postcard shows a Panama Limited streamliner. The Panama Limited was streamlined in 1942.

A song immortalizing the train is credited to blues singer Bukka White, who recorded it in the 1930s. "The Panama Limited" was popularized by folk singer Tom Rush on his debut album in 1965.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ferry Across The Minnesota River

Fort Snelling was the first major U.S. military presence in Minnesota. It was located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. Ferries were used to move people and goods across the Minnesota River to and from Fort Snelling  before a bridge was built.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Great River Road

The Great River Road is not a single road as its name might suggest. It is a collection of state, provincial, and local roads which follow the course of the Mississippi River through ten states of the United States: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Developed in 1938, the road has a separate commission in each state. These in turn cooperate through the Mississippi River Parkway Commission (source: Wikipedia).

The 5-cent Great River Road commemorative postage stamp was issued on October 21, 1966, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, headquarters of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. The stamp's image suggests the central portion of the United States from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. The double-pointed red arrow indicates the route of the road, which is a white ribbon on either side of the Mississippi River.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving, Football, & Beer

Football is a Thanksgiving tradition in the United States. I am not really a sports fan, but I am a "Thanksgiving Girl" (I was born on Thanksgiving) and a beer lover.

This is a three-panel postcard advertising Aurora Brewing Co. beers. The image above shows the card when it is closed. When you open the cover part shown below, a Thanksgiving menu is revealed.

Click on the images below if you want to more easily read the text.

The menu seems rather elaborate. "There is nothing lacking" in this menu, which naturally includes A . B. C. Beer. I never would have thought of fried smelts as a Thanksgiving treat. However, the menu is quite similar to the  Thanksgiving at the White House, Circa 1887 menu, which also included fried smelts.

When fully open, the card has a message about supporting local enterprises. "You cannot get a purer, more wholesome or more satisfying beer any where than you get right here at home under the Aurora Brewing So.'s labels."

The center panel has a price list and a half-size postcard that can be used for ordering. You could have "Deliveries made in plain wagons if desired." (You might not want your neighbors to know you drank beer!)

The panel on the right has a message about the health benefits in A. B. C. Beer. You would never get away with this kind of advertising now!
A. B. C. Beer is a boon to the tired housewife--the run-down business man--every ailing member of the family. It sharpens the appetite--builds up the impoverished blood--imparts new life and vigor to the whole system. Your physician will advise the use of it.

When completely closed, the back of the card has a space for a mailing address and a stamp.

Here are views of the three panels as they look when when the card is open.

The following information about the Aurora Brewery is from Tavern Trove:
Trade names for the brewery at 430 River Street, Aurora, IL.
J.O. McInhill, Aurora Brewery 1874-1877
J.V. McInhill 1877-1884
J.P. Dostal (Addressed at 212 North River Street) 1886-1890
Aurora Brewing Co. 1890-1920
Brewery operations shut down by National Prohibition in 1920
Readdressed to 430 North River Street circa 1934
Reopened as the Aurora brewing Co. in 1934
Closed in 1939
Aurora Beer  1890 - 1920
Aurora Beer  1933 - 1939
For some history of Thanksgiving football, see Football on Thanksgiving: A Brief But Comprehensive History.

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